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Random Reader (Cambridge, Cambs United Kingdom)

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JZK (White Boarder) Black Aluminum batterydoor housing metal brushed battery Cover skin case shell for Samsung Galaxy S4 S IV i9500 S 4 i9505 4G LT
JZK (White Boarder) Black Aluminum batterydoor housing metal brushed battery Cover skin case shell for Samsung Galaxy S4 S IV i9500 S 4 i9505 4G LT
Offered by JZK Express Network
Price: £6.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good at the price, 7 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Have to say this is well worth the couple of quid I paid - as it is far nicer than the battery cover that came with the phone: which was a fingerprint-magnet and smear-y nightmare.

This is still a bit plasticky and not as metallic as perhaps expected. It still picks up some marks as well. But it is still HEAD AND SHOULDERS better than the original. Looks nice, feels slightly more solid and fits very well indeed.

Worth noting that there is a small white line around the rim (c. 0.7mm?) which actually looks rather good.

Recommended. The other colours also look good.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 10, 2013 4:21 PM BST

The Lovecraft Anthology, Vol. 1
The Lovecraft Anthology, Vol. 1
by H. P. Lovecraft
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Well executed - good range of contributors, 10 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very nicely put together collection. Little bit smaller in format than most graphic novel/tpb collections but feels just right. Stories adapted with respect for the source material but also a nice understanding of the differences between prose and comics and how ro make them work in the latter. Lastly, there's a nice variety of contributors, esp. in the art department - with some interesting styles for the different pieces in the anthology.

Cthulhu's Reign
Cthulhu's Reign
Price: £4.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look for fans, 10 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cthulhu's Reign (Kindle Edition)
Pretty good - bit of a mixed bag. In many cases the idea is far better than the execution. Worth remembering that - unlike Lovecraft's stories - these are not all set in the same mythos, but in alternate versions; each author's own idea of what would happen when the stars are right ...

Tommee Tippee Explora Active Sipper (Pink)
Tommee Tippee Explora Active Sipper (Pink)
Price: £2.87

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No lid to lose, 10 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great cup - hold it upside down and nothing comes up (if you've reassembled correctly after washing). Put it in a bag and everything else stays dry. My daughter loves this model and we have multiples in different designs.

Samsung Galaxy S4 i9500 Black PU Leather Slip Pouch Case / Cover Accessory By Sunwire®
Samsung Galaxy S4 i9500 Black PU Leather Slip Pouch Case / Cover Accessory By Sunwire®
Offered by e4deal UK
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fit great price, 10 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not real leather but a good fit, will certainly protect the phone (more so that any cover that leaves the screen exposed. Seamed edges provide extra shock absorption when dropped on the side. Really top value and couldn't complain at all for the price. Doesn't add much bulk when carried in the pocket either.

Rapture (Bioshock)
Rapture (Bioshock)
by John Shirley
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars John Shirley is better than this ..., 3 Oct 2011
In case you're thinking fromt the review title I'm starting from the position of looking down on videogames - let me assure you: I don't. This is, however, the first tie-in novel I've read (and probably my last). It seems to me that games and their narratives work best in their own medium and I've had no great urge to read any more tie-in novelilsations, but I love BioShock (playing the two games has been of the most immersive and compelling storytelling experiences of recent years) and thought that this, above all, was a game world that offered real opportunities for interesting fiction. I've also been reading John Shirley's work for more than 20 years and I'm just surprised at how poor this turned out to be.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been.

[WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead - continue with caution, if you haven't played the games. If you've played the games but not read the book - there shouldn't be anything to worry about. I don't discuss the novel's plt in any detail.]

There's an awful lot of ground to cover in one novel and whilst this is a game attempt (no pun intended) to get it all across, it very often feels as though boxes are being ticked ("Mention Circus of Values? Check. Involve Anna Culpepper? Check.") when it would perhaps be better to either explore and explain them fully or to overlook some aspects of the game world entirely and concentrate on those that really serve the story.

Vita-Chambers for instance: In the game they BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE!!! But such radical technology gets barely a mention in the book. And herein lies the difficulty of trying to write a BioShock novel that is 100% faithful to the source material. Many aspects of the game work excellently as interactive machanisms of gameplay but do not stand up at all well to objective scrutiny as narrative devices. Vita-Chambers are one (so much so, I deactivated them 20mins into my first play-though as I didn't like the idea of in-game reanimation*), but even when totally absorbed by playing, I kept getting jolted out of my suspended disbelief by plasmid abilities that were so ridiculously OTT that they would have been better not trying to rationalise them through genetics but by just calling them 'magic'. By and large, though, if it's in the game, it gets into the novel. Which is a shame as these things feel dumber still when you're not busy running around trying to survive in Rapture and - consequently - the book tarnishes my fond memories of the game.

[*Obviously I had to turn a blind eye to that when I got near the end of BioShock2 ...]

Most of the time it seems as though Shirley is phoning this in, with unimaginative scene-setting (repeated use of "a [insert aquatic creature] swam past the window" to remind you that we're in an underwater city) and poor characterisation. Principally, the latter is a victim of trying to tell a story across almost a quarter of a century and with a cast of dozens - but many of those are only mentioned for the recognition factor of their names from the game's superb audio diaries.

There are too many examples of this to go into all of them, but Tenenbaum in particular is ill-served by some casual explanation of backstory and a sudden, crisis of conscience about three quarters of the way through. the complex and very human character of both games is lost here - when one would imagine there was far better opportunity to explore her. Fontaine, likewise, is difficult to penetrate. If he is such a ruthless and talented operator - why is he seemingly such small fry in the surface world?

The best realised characters are Ryan and McDonough - who easily get the lion's share of written 'screen-time'. Ryan doesn't do too badly, although he becomes a less enigmatic figure than in the game and a more petty one instead. Bill McDonough is decently written - but that is faint praise, really, and having played the game first he feels to me very much like the result of an attempt to find the least unsuitable character (even a minor one) around whom to hang the book's conscience and to act as the reader's surrogate.

I regularly had a yearning, whilst reading this, for a strong, omniscient narrator voice - to describe events, not through the perceptions of the characters, but objectively as they are and to provide more detail and exposition.

The ambition of the exercise - all of the 'pre-history' of Rapture in one novel - is to be applauded. But in the end it doesn't do justice to the mood and excitement you get when you first explore the corridors of Rapture and piece together it's story from the recorded voices of its ghosts.

One for BioShock completists only, I'm afraid - and only those who really have to hoover up every last Rapture-fact. Instead of reading this, go back and play the games again and then read some of John Shirley's other, better work.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2013 9:27 AM GMT

No Title Available

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 28 Oct 2010
I've only recently started wearing these - always favoring shorts in the past - as I've changed my running from gym to outdoors and from morning to dark, cold, occasionally-damp autumn evenings. I have to admit I was a bit nervous about going out in them and looking like a slightly ridiculous Mamil (middle-aged man in lycra). However ...

- They are *amazingly* comfortable and a real joy to wear - like a second skin.
- They are warm. No more cold wind whipping at my knees.
- They perform well. Possibly coincidence, but the second time I wore them, I shaved 28s off my PB for my regular 2-mile run.
- Lastly, they actually look quite good on (even with the slight muffin-top I'm trying to run off at the moment).

Other factual stuff? They have a tiny zip pocket below the rear waistband for putting your doorkey in (I've retired my Nike shoe wallet whilst wearing these). There are no other pockets, though - so you'll need an armband or some other solution for your iPod. There are short zips at the bottom of the legs - making them easier to get on and then close up tight around your ankles. There is a drawstring on the waistband - allowing you to secure them more firmly if need be.

All in all - these are great. The low price belies real quality and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

This review refers to the plain black version - but I have tried on the pair with fluorescent green panels and the fit is the same - only the aesthetics (and visibility) differ.

The Labours of Hercules (Poirot)
The Labours of Hercules (Poirot)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Poroit's finest hour ..., 8 Mar 2010
A collection of twelve short stories (with a brief prologue setting up the central conceit) in which Poirot dedicates himself to taking a dozen final cases which parallel the mythical labours of his greek demi-god namesake.

Unfortunately this is easily one of the weakest Poirot books I've so far read (I'm working through them in approximate publication order). I continue to enjoy Christie's books because of her superb mastery of plot. Poirot's adventures are usually a masterclass in mystery fiction and more often than not I find myself suprised to discover the identity of the murderer, yet forced to acknowledge that the clues were there all along.

So it is a shame that in too many of these stories, the miscreant or their method are easily identfied in advance of the final page. In short tales like these, one would assume that there is an even greater focus on plot as opposed to characterisation and description (often alleged to be AC's weaknesses) - but the format just doesn't work well. There is less room for Christie's trademark misdirection (e.g. when everyone has a motive) and, in fact, the episodes in 'The Labours of Hercules' actually suffer from a lack of good characterisation - highlighting how good the author actually is in building up efficient and effective character sketches.

The stories themselves are often quite far-fetched and their connection with the mythical feats they reference are often far more tangential than they need to be (there is also an assumption that the reader is familiar with the ancient Greek tales and little is done to draw out comparisons).

An intriguing idea, poorly executed - but occasionally diverting nonetheless. I'll still be grateful to return to a novel-length mystery with the necessary time to unfold and an appropriately large and conflicting cast of characters.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2010 4:00 AM BST

Incipio dermaSHOT Silicone Case for iPod Nano 5G - Black
Incipio dermaSHOT Silicone Case for iPod Nano 5G - Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value quality product, 10 Nov 2009
I bought this in a real-world shop at the weekend, as I got a new 5G Nano and didn't want to wait for online delivery of a case before using - the new Nano is very shiny and lightweight and I'd hate it to get scratched or banged around.

Like my old 2G Mini, my first choice was a slim-fitting silicon skin, to absorb some shock and protect the surface withoiut the bulk of a larger case. Before heading out, I looked at sites like Proporta (who, like Incipio, make great cases and accessories) to see what was available. Their silicon skin was about £15, the same price point as this, but I would have had to wait and pay P&P. I soon found this on a shelf in my local Apple re-seller and am glad I did. The skin is durable and not too thin. It's also an excellent fit and wraps around the botton corners to hold the device snuggly in place. However, that's not all. Tucked into the packaging were some pleasant extras:

- Adhesive Screen protector fitted to 5G Nano screen size. This can be lifted and re-placed, so don't panic about sticky marks or leaving air-bubbles under it on the first attempt.
- An additional silicon plug for the docking socket, which fits flush with the rest of the skin. A great touch. With this and the screen protector in place the only exposed parts of the iPod are the locking switch, the clickwheel, the camera lens and the headphone socket (i.e. just the bits that need to be accessed).
- A small s-shaped piece of rigid plastic which, simple as it is, functions well as a stand to prop your iPod up on a flat surface for hands-free video watching. It's a tiny thing, doubtless cheap to make - but that Incipio thought to include it is a good customer service touch.

These three aren't listed in the product description above - so take this review with a little caution (if a reviewer who has purchased via Amazon can confirm or deny their inclusion, that'd be useful). However, the photo of the skin itself is identical to mine, as is the price. Furthermore, Incipio's packaging wasn't exactly shouting the extras from the rooftops. They're selling themselves a bit short in that regard.

All told - this was a much more impressive package than I'd expected. I had already been looking at screen-protectors and assumed I'd need to buy one separately, but Incipio (who made my first ever 'gadget' case - for a b&w Palm Pilot way back in the day) went the extra mile to put together a bundle that sees to the small details as well.

Operation Red Jericho (Guild Trilogy)
Operation Red Jericho (Guild Trilogy)
by Joshua Mowll
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for kids not so great for "kidults", 27 Sep 2006
I picked this up for around UKP3 in a remaindered bookstore and am glad that I did - it's a lovely little volume - but also glad I didn't pay more.

The clothbound hardcover, with it's elastic-banded journal format is a very nicely put-together artefact, with heaps of great sketches and illustrations and lovingly-detailed pull-out charts.

However, the writing is frankly poor (compared with, say, the Philips Pullman and Reeve) and I couldn't wait to finish, in order to start a better book. This may be okay for children - but even then I suspect I'm doing them a disservice, as they deserve good writing, too. Basically, the prose was clunky (under a facade of pacy brevity) and the story was rather cliché-ridden. Certain things - like the protaganists names - just didn't sit right and characterisation was two-dimensional at best. A fun romp, but not one of the great achievements of recent "young-person's literature".

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